Resource Spotlight: Lexis Context

For today’s litigators, analytics platforms are a useful tool, offering strategic guidance and a potential competitive advantage.  One such platform, available to members of the Northwestern Law community, is Lexis Context, accessible through Lexis Advance. In this post, we’ll walk through the content available on Context and consider some of its potential uses.

To access Lexis Context, first sign in to Lexis Advance, then click the “matrix” icon in the top-left corner of your screen, and, finally, select “Context.”  At this point, you’re able to enter the name of either (1) a state or federal judge or (2) an expert witness. For judges, Context provides detailed information for 100 types of motions, displaying your judge’s rates of granting, denying, or partially granting those motions.  Moreover, Context allows you to review your judge’s citation patterns, including which opinions and other jurists your judge cites most often in their opinions. Meanwhile, for expert witnesses, it’s possible to review a variety of helpful data, including how often an expert has been hired by plaintiffs versus defendants and how often they’ve appeared in particular types of litigation (e.g., trademark, antitrust, etc.).  In addition, you’re able to review the frequency, basis for, and outcome of challenges to admissibility of their testimony.

A screenshot from Lexis Context, displaying analytics pertaining to Judge Amit P. Mehta.

Using Context, let’s see what we can learn about Judge Amit P. Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  Upon entering his name, we retrieve a graphical representation of his rulings on motions. Reviewing this display, we learn, for example, that Judge Mehta has ruled on 207 motions for summary judgment and has granted roughly 45% of these motions.  We could take this a step further and filter by practice area, allowing us to review how his rate of granting motions differs amongst various types of cases. Moving on to Judge Mehta’s citation patterns, we learn that he has cited Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) more often than any other case, and also that he has cited Judge Judith W. Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit more often than any other judge.  Using filters, we can obtain more specific information; for example, in his rulings on motions for injunctive relief, Judge Mehta most frequently cites Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007).

Unlike other analytics platforms, which scrape data from case dockets and court filings, Context pulls information from judicial opinions.  This means that while Context relies upon a smaller universe of potential data, its content is uniquely accurate. How might this data be used?  When drafting a document for a particular judge, it enables you to cite cases and language that your judge has found persuasive in the past. Meanwhile, when deciding whether to hire a particular witness, it makes it possible to review their prior involvement in cases and to gauge the likelihood that their potential testimony will be admitted.

Whether you’re clerking for a judge, involved in one of the clinics, working in a litigation practice group, or simply interested in legal analytics, I recommend taking the time to explore Lexis Context.

Associate Law Librarian for Technology Initiatives and Instruction

Posted in Library Resources, Resource Spotlight, Tech, Uncategorized
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